We've hired a curriculum director who is a smart, fantastically hard-working true believer in the wisdom of mini-lessons and students designing their own "literacy" curriculum by choosing their own books to read for class and discussing them in pairs or pods.
A smart, fantastically hard-working true believer gets a lot more done than a dull and lazy true believer.
(Ed and I and numerous others fought to keep that position from being filled, by the way. Fought.)
So, where Common Core is concerned--Common Core as understood by a public school curriculum director--we are ahead of the curve.
Which means that after 10 years of strife over Math Trailblazers we have unceremoniously dumped Trailblazers and adopted the engageny math modules, which are being written and posted as we speak. No teacher has ever taught engageny math, no student has ever learned engageny math, engageny math does not yet exist in toto, and the vast set of engageny material has to be downloaded from the internet.
And this is what we're using.
Because, you know, COMMON CORE.
Those are the magic words, COMMON CORE. Once an administrator invokes the name of COMMON CORE, s/he is absolved of all responsibility for children actually learning math.
So here we are:
- The children have no math textbooks
- Because Trailblazers was so slow, children in later grades don't have the skills to begin grade-level engageny units, but they have all been forced to begin grade-level engageny units anyway, regardless of preparation
- Because we've never had a scope and sequence for any subject in the district (this state of affairs finally came to light at the last board meeting, after I requested a copy of our scope and sequence) no one has any idea what skills the kids are supposed to possess
- Because the district has never held itself responsible for children actually learning the content being covered in class (and retaught at home by parents & tutors) there is no mechanism in place to figure out what skills kids are missing
- Because no one apart from high school math teachers has any expertise in math, neither teachers, building principals, nor the curriculum director has any idea what the proper sequence of skills actually is & thus no idea how to assess the kids' "gaps" (lots of gaps talk amongst parents and teachers; calls to mind the early days of ktm)
- Although engageny promises a year-long "scope and sequence" for its curriculum "modules," the promised scope and sequence for math either: a) does not yet exist or b) does exist but is unusable by people absent a deep and hands-on knowledge of K-5 math and math curricula.
No one knows anything, and, very clearly, no one is going to know anything any time soon.
I've seen a lot of bad math teaching in my day (a whole lot), and a lot of bad math curricula, but I've never seen anything like this.